Aug 8, 2008

Connection to a Building

By Rebecca Talley

Last week my family and I vacationed in Santa Barbara, California, where I was born and raised. Santa Barbara is a gorgeous city that sits on the coast of the Pacific Ocean.

The city has strict building ordinances so most of the buildings are Spanish style with the red tile roofs. The Courthouse is an incredibly beautiful building that was built over 100 years ago.

Many years ago, I was in the car with my maternal grandmother (who was raising me after the deaths of my parents) and we drove past a white brick building with a steeple. I asked her about it and she replied that it was an LDS Church. She then admitted that she was a member of the LDS Church but hadn’t attended for years. I asked if we could attend church and the next Sunday we did. As is par for LDS wards, we were immediately assigned a home teacher and not long afterward, I was baptized by that home teacher.

Last Sunday, while in Santa Barbara, we attended church in this same building. As soon as I entered the chapel, I was overcome with the emotional connection I have to that building because this is where it all started for me. This was where I was baptized so many years ago, where I attended Primary, Mutual, and Seminary. This is the building where I spent so many early summer mornings practicing for a Road Show and then a Dance Festival a few years later. I played basketball in that gym for my YW team. I also danced in the same gym when we had ward dances and ate dinner there for ward activities and daddy-daughter parties with my grandfather. I remember dancing under the stars during a New Year’s Eve dance we held in the patio area and the Pioneer Day bash on the back grass.

Back in the day, when we had Primary on a Wednesday afternoon, my best friend’s mom served as President. As teenagers, my friend and I helped play games with the Primary kids. I also remember the cribs in the nursery that are now long gone. I can remember being in the Jr. Primary room and watching the YM bless and pass the sacrament to the young children.

Every inch of that building holds a memory for me. But, most of all, this is the building where my tiny mustard seed of a testimony first received its nourishment and began to grow. This is where my feet were first planted firmly in the gospel sod. Ward members gathered me under their wings, fed my spirit, and loved me into the gospel.

It seems strange to have such a strong connection to a bunch of bricks and mortar, but for me, this building will always symbolize my connection to the Savior.


  1. Rebecca ~

    What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing it. And such a lovely building. I like the connection between the ties to this building and the building of your own testimony. Excellent job. Ok, NOW, I'm going to bed.


  2. Wonderful pictures and what lovely memories. You wrote that in a way that I felt I was there seeing it through your eyes. Well done!

  3. Lovely blog, Rebecca. The building looks much like the old First Ward building on Brill Street in Phoenix, where I was baptised and attended stake conferences. The church sold it several years ago.

  4. Thank you for a wonderful spiritual lift. I loved seeing that building through your eyes, Rebecca! Our niece held her wedding reception at the building...out on the beautiful lawn. I love Santa Barbara!

  5. Thank you.

    Kari, you have a niece from SB?

  6. My brother-in-law built a house in Summerland over 20 years ago. He joined ranks with an engineer in Santa Barbara, after graduating from BYU, and eventually took over ownership. Ron and Lenette Pike have 4 daughters. One is married and one is serving in the Sumara Russia mission. The other two are still at home. Our married niece had a beautiful reception out on the lawn of that chapel.

  7. I love Summerland Beach. Sounds like he came to the area about when I left it. I'm betting they are in the Carpinteria Ward. We in SB always thought people in Carpinteria or Summerland were hicks. Now I laugh about that.

  8. Ah, the memories your blog brought me. No, I never lived in California, but I still am drawn to the builidings I grew up with, attended within later, etc.-- The tabernacles in Rexburg and Rigby, Idaho; the schoolhouse in Sunnydell where we held Branch Primary and Sunday School, as well as dances and programs, in the basement; an upstairs large room in downtown Cincinnati where we regularly had to pause until the noise of a streetcar passed on; a dancehall above a saloon in Alabama which the priesthood had to come early to clean before meetings; a schoolhouse in Japan; many beautiful chapels including the chapel in WDC made of the same granite as the Salt Lake Temple, and with Angal Moroni on the spire; the old Joseph Smith building on campus at BYU. And the wonderful part is that in each place the spirit was just as strong and friendly, and the teachings the same. How glorious is the gospel.

  9. Hmmm...I'm not sure of the name of their ward, but ...I had to laugh at your comment. Back then Summerland and Carpinteria were hicks...and hippies...I am amazed at how things change. Their girls have been very involved in Jr. Lifeguards and community theater, etc. Ron served as the Bishop about 5 years ...released about a year ago.


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